Hong Kong’s High Court is anticipated to rule on a judicial assessment case in September involving a authorities improvement proposal to construct 12,000 public flats on a part of the town’s oldest golf course.

The Hong Kong Golf Club filed a authorized problem in July final yr in an try and overturn an environmental influence evaluation report that might have paved the best way for a public housing challenge on 9.5 hectares (23.5 acres) of the 172-hectare course in Fanling.

The court docket earlier ordered a short lived halt to any selections arising from the report till the judicial problem was resolved.

After listening to submissions on Tuesday, the court docket adjourned the case till September 11 or earlier than.

Representing the membership, Senior Counsel Benjamin Yu Yuk-hoi stated the Environmental Protection Department had failed to take care of equity and omitted “a very material assessment” within the influence evaluation report in the course of the public session part.

He argued the division’s resolution in May 2023 to conditionally approve the report would possibly represent extremely vires, or “beyond the powers”, and procedural unfairness.

In May final yr, the director of environmental safety gave conditional approval to the ecological evaluation by the Civil Engineering and Development Department relating to developing the flats.

At the time, environmental officers stated the approval would rely upon whether or not the division might revise its format plan to protect about 0.4 hectares of woodland as practicably as potential and minimise the influence on tree preservation, the panorama and visible elements arising from the proposal.

The Town Planning Board briefly rezoned the 9.5-hectare website from “residential” to “undetermined” use two months later.

The membership questioned whether or not the Environmental Protection Department had exceeded its authority and did not seek the advice of the general public correctly and later filed a judicial assessment to overturn the choice.

In granting go away for the assessment, Mr Justice Russell Coleman stated on the time the proposed improvement would possibly pose a “real risk of serious, potentially irreversible damage to the environment of the site”.

Club counsel Benjamin Yu identified what he known as a “discrepancy” in surveys finished by the event division and the conservation division on the variety of bat and moth species discovered on the course. Photo: Elson Li

During the listening to, the membership argued the Environmental Protection Department had authorized the evaluation with out consulting the general public once more and after the engineering and improvement division submitted supplementary data to environmental officers.

Senior Counsel Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, representing the director of environmental safety, stated on Monday that authorities had accomplished the general public session and authorized the influence evaluation report in response to procedures stipulated by legislation.

But Yu argued the transfer meant those that had “the urge to respond to the additional information were basically ignored” by the Environmental Protection Department.

Yu additionally identified what he known as a “huge discrepancy” within the surveys finished by the event division and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department relating to the variety of bat and moth species discovered on the golf course.

The former’s survey discovered far fewer than the latter, however the wildlife authorities’ findings weren’t included within the evaluation report, he added.

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